You can save money and recycle some household waste products by making your own fire starters. This is a guide about homemade fire starters.
I save our empty toilet and paper towel tubes, stuff them with waste paper and junk mail or even pine cones. Then I melt my small, leftover candle pieces in a old candle warmer just until it melts.
I liked the many suggestions for using paper towel and toilet paper rolls to make fire starters. My problem was that I didn't have a good way to stuff the rolls and pour or dip them in wax. Then I remembered my camp craft class where we made paper baskets (this was a looong time ago!).
Cut paper towel rolls in thirds. Fold one end and make a cut about 3/4 inches through both layers. Open the fold up and fold again so that the cut ends are now on the edges. Make another cut about 3/4 inches and open up the fold. Fold the four cut edges so they cover each other (like a box). The paper roll can now stand up and be filled with dryer lint, sawdust, etc. Pour the melted wax into the open end.
I also put these on a styrofoam tray (the kind meat comes on works well) and set my rolls up one against the other on the tray so that any wax that seeps through will pool on the tray and not make a mess of my work surface.
Use your wine corks for cheap fire starters. Just add a little alcohol on the cork. It works well.
By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario
Editor's Note: Be sure it is a natural cork, not the newer plastic foam corks that are often used instead.
We burn wood, and fire starters are not cheap. My husband laughs at me for some of my cheap ideas, but they work! I use the below in addition to the twigs and leaves and bark that are in the wood pile.
I save dryer lint and stuff it into empty TP or paper towel rolls and use it to start a fire.
Save empty butter wrappers (I first use them to grease cake pans). Store in a bag in the freezer until needed.
Save paper towels that are used to clean up greasy pans or messes as above, store in a bag in the freezer until needed.
By April from NW, MO
We shred our excess paper and use it as a fire starter.
By Grandee from CA
We are avid campers. Instead of buying those expensive fire starters, we make our own. Take a cardboard egg carton, fill each cup with dryer lint, melt old candle leftovers and pour into the cups over the lint.
Cut lid off the carton. Melt the candles and crayons on low heat. With hand protection, pour 1 inch of wax mix into the whole egg carton. Before it hardens, add the pine cones, fruit, spices, spruce sprigs, and such.
Make Christmas gifts by recycling egg cartons and dryer lint! Using a cardboard one-dozen egg carton, fill each hole generously with dryer lint. Using melted scented candles purchased at a yard sale, pour hot wax into each hole, filling 2/3-3/4 full.
Put that stale bag of Fritos to good use. Start a campfire with them.
I found this tip at make-stuff.com, it is a great site. "Fill an empty roll with dried leaves in the fall. Wrap it with newspaper, 4 inches longer than the roll, and twist the ends of the paper, for easy lighting. If you wrap them with decorative paper and put them in a basket they make a nice accessory to a fire place. They can also be covered with Christmas wrapping paper for the holidays." By Racer
Use cardboard egg cartons with stubs of birthday candles in the pockets. Tear off a few pockets, put a few candle stubs in the pockets, and build your fire OVER the egg carton pieces.
Save the lint from the dryer in a plastic container. In the winter months when the wood for the fire gets a little damp, use the lint under the kindling to get it started. Works great!
Recycle used toilet and kitchen rolls, fill with newspapers.
Get a jar that closes with a rubber seal. Put in corks from wine bottles, etc, then fill the rest of the way with denatured alcohol.
What happens to your shredded material at home or the office? I take them on camping trips! The paper shreds are a perfect fire starter. Sprinkle them in the pit, add wood, then sprinkle more on top. They make it very easy to get the fire going and it adds to the purpose of "shredding" for sure. Not to mention, re-purposing your shredded paper as a fire starter keeps it out of the landfill.
By Lori from Greenwood, MO
I like the basic idea - I'd be more comfortable with making the shreds into less "blowable" fire starters, I think. I am going to try stuffing shreds into a toilet paper tube, AND I'm going to try putting some shreds in a cardboard egg carton with some melted paraffin wax poured over the top... (06/15/2010)
Keep your paper towel rolls and toilet tissue rolls and stuff them with your shredded paper and use them for fire starters in camp fires. Little of the fire starter on the roll and you are ready to go. (06/15/2010)
Does anyone remember the directions for making homemade pine cone fire starters? I used to have one that made the fire burn different colors. Thanks in advance.
By dollyddg from Lynn, MA
This site has instructions for water based fire starters. The pine cones are soaked in different chemicals to produce colors when burned. Please make sure to read the safety concerns at the bottom of the page!
Instead of buying those fire starters, make your own out of empty wine boxes. I fill with little pieces of paper and poke holes in both sides, and light up!
I would like to know how to make a homemade fire log starter.
By Susan from New Smyrna, FL
One thing we have done is to take wood chips about 2x2 inches and soak them in used oil or kerosene. Soak for 1 week then take out let dry and store in a 5 gallon bucket use a few to get a fire going.
Another thing is take newspaper and soak in water then wad it up, or get a press to press the water out and form into a brick. Let dry then keep stored and use when needed. (01/10/2010)
There are lots and lots of ideas in the ThriftyFun archives below. Be sure to read them all but steer clear of using dryer lint or plastic egg crates because of lung dangers due to the burning toxins :-) (01/13/2010)
My husband has made fire starters for our wood burning stove by taking saw dust and wax from old candles and adding them together in egg shell cartons. Then he broke them a part in individual parts. When he wants to get the fire going, he puts one in with the wood and lights the egg carton. Works every time.
By Tiggerinoregon from Fairview, OR
Be sure to use cardboard egg cartons, "not" Styrofoam. (11/21/2009)
A basket of pine cone fire starters is a wonderful gift to make. It is fairly inexpensive and I have fun making them every year.
Fire starters for camping are easy to make with things you have around the house. All you need is a paper egg carton, dryer lint and wax.
Save lint from dryer, "cardboard" egg cartons (not the styrofoam ones) and old candle pieces or crayons. Put lint in each egg cup.